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Archive February 2014

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My 12-Team NFBC RotoWire Online Championship Team

I drafted out of the 11-hole for the "Beat Chris Liss" league. I had done a fair amount of research on optimal roster construction from that slot, and I decided I'd go hitter in the first round, three pitchers in 2-4 and then hitting for the next 10 rounds or so before filling in with upside pitchers late. Of course, few battle plans survive the actual war. Here are the results:

First Base ADP Trends in the NFBC

The first base position continues to be a premium spot for premium talent and if you want one of the best, you’ve got to dig deep into your pockets because you’ve got to pay, pay pay. The top 13 players at the position go within the first 100 picks and there’s one, Anthony Rizzo, who sits right on the cusp. Thirteen is almost half the starting first basemen out there in the player pool, so while outfielders make up almost 30-percent of the players taken in the first 100 picks, the percentage of first basemen who go, relative to their position, actually has a higher impact.

The Need For Speed: Should You Draft Billy Hamilton?

Everywhere you look Billy Hamilton is projected not only to lead the majors in stolen bases this season, but to do so by a wide margin, making his an attractive draft day target for fantasy owners.

Catcher ADP Trends in the NFBC

With about a month having gone by since we last broke down the NFBC ADP by position, it’s time we checked in again to see what type of movement we’re looking at here at the end of February just before spring training games get ready to begin. We’ll start It off with the catchers once again.

Mock Draft Central ADP Trends -- Risers & Fallers

Over the last several weeks we’ve been primarily looking at the ADP numbers from the NFBC and using them as a benchmark, more or less. But while those numbers have been helpful due to the assumed level of talent and dedication from those drafting in both real and mock NFBC drafts, they aren’t without their limitations. We’ve discussed this before, but just to reiterate for those just joining us, it’s simple.

Reach For the Stars

We’ve heard it all before. Studying ADP and the trends that are developing each season is an extremely important part of your prep work for your fantasy baseball draft. It helps to guide you along and point you in the right direction so that you don’t reach too high for a player you may be able to get a few rounds later and concentrate on the positions that command your focus early on. Simple, right?

Fantasy College Basketball Game of the Week: San Diego State at New Mexico

Perry Missner virtually flies to The Pit to see the making of an unknown superstar.

Undervalued, But Not For Long

There is a third baseman that is not being taken in the top ten spots, but should be.

Mock Draft Army ADP -- Picks 51 - 100

For those of you just joining us, we’re continuing our comparative look at the ADP created by my Mock Draft Army versus that of the NFBC. Examining the two side by side offers an interesting comparison as the NFBC data comes from the vast number of drafts, both real and mock, done by those dedicated, both spiritually and monetarily, to the game of fantasy baseball and the data from the Army, though pulled from a much smaller sample size, comes from the combined efforts of those who write about fantasy baseball professionally and those who play for the pure love of the game.

Mock Draft Army ADP -- The Top 50

With pitchers and catchers having reported to camp and various position players checking in early as well, the fantasy baseball draft prep season is kicking into high gear right now. Almost all the fantasy web sites have released their rankings and as you’ve seen here at RotoWire, those rankings have already been updated at least once, if not more. Everyone is anxiously awaiting the start of spring games and even more anxious for their league’s draft to get here.

Fantasy College Basketball Game of the Week: Georgia State at Troy

Perry Missner looks in his backyard to see what the Sun Belt has to offer.

Early 2014 Predictions

Pitcher and catchers have reported for all but four teams, so now is as good a time as any to predict how the season will end.

A.J. Burnett's Future

The signing of A.J. Burnett by Philadelphia was one that was met with as many shaking of heads as it was nodding of heads. On the heels of the news that Cole Hamels was experiencing bicep tendonitis, adding Burnett makes sense if the Phillies think they are a playoff contender. The problem is, they certainly do not appear to be a contender, even within their own division, on paper.

Pirates Prescription

Derek VanRiper and I were talking with Joe Sheehan on the radio Tuesday, and the conversation turned to the Pirates. This was before the Pirates officially blew it ($) with A.J. Burnett, though at that point it was obvious he wasn't a slam-dunk to return to Pittsburgh. But for such a feel-good season in 2013, in such a winnable division, the Pirates were remarkably quiet this offseason, perhaps even more so than their division rival Reds, though the Reds' inaction came along with losing Shin-Soo Choo. Arguably the Reds got worse, whereas before losing Burnett the Pirates merely remained stagnant at the major league level.

But luckily for the Pirates, unlike the Reds, there's a fairly easy solution to improve their team for 2014. It won't be cheap, but it fits and is defensible.

Olympics- USA, Russia Openers

The United States certainly made a statement with Thursday's 7-1 rout of Jaroslav Halak, Zdeno Chara and Slovakia, riding a six-goal second period to a win before Saturday's pivotal clash with Russia. Several things jumped out from the US performance today:

-They're fast. This group of wingers utilized their speed nicely on the outside and some defensemen getting involved as well, notably Kevin Shattenkirk's rush up the ice on one of the team's goals. (I lost count)

-Great forechecking led to several goals in the second period for the Americans. Notably on the second and third goals.

Man Can Live on Fastball Alone

Two starting pitchers threw at least 80% fastballs in 2013 - Tony Cingrani and Bartolo Colon. That is one of the few things these two hurlers have in common.

Olympics (Men's) Day 1

-Either Sweden is quite good or the Czechs are rather medicore. I'm thinking it could be somewhere in between.

-Hell of a game from the US and Canadian women this morning. US seemed to have the better of the play for the middle portion of the game, but you give Canada an inch, and they're in the door.

-Loved the acceleration form Agosta on the Canadian's third goal, wow that was a quick first step.

-Hoping the US won't get Finland in the semis with Noora Raty.

-Erik Karlsson looked quite composed on the big rink, as one would expect, but the Swedes overall just seemed a bit faster than the Czechs, especially on Patrick Berglund's goal.

-True the Czechs were without their top option in goal, but the Swedes held on after the Czechs found their game.

-It will be interesting to see how much Henrik Sedin's absence affects the Swedes, but considering Henrik Zetterberg, Gabriel Landeskog and Nicklas Backstrom are guiding the team. They'll be fine.

-Nice to see Nino Nieddereiter get involved in the Swiss attack today. That team is going to be sneaky if Jonas Hiller can steal a game or two. Offensively, I don't see them making much of an impact.

-I ilke what the Americans did with their top two lines heading into Thursday's debut against Zdeno Chara and Slovakia. The line of James vanRiemsdyk-Joe Pavelski-Phil Kessel has to be one of the highest scoring trios in the tournament. The blend of playing styles on the Zach Parise-David Backes-T.J. Oshie is a tremendous combination that can be a handful given the energy with which each of those play.

-Canada should have a walk against the likes of Norway and Austria, but it will be crucial to see how their line combinations click. A potential grouping of Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf-John Tavares simply isn't fair.

Expected ADP Risers -- The Trendy Picks

With the number of fantasy web sites we see strewn about the internet, there are very few well-kept secrets in fantasy baseball. In fact, it’s the complete opposite these days. Players who would normally be considered late-round steals and hidden gems are now plastered all over the magazines and web pages so that even the casual fantasy owner knows who they are and how good they could potentially be. Consequently, we are now in an age where we rarely seek to unearth the player no one knows about and build our draft strategy around avoiding the players who everyone knows about. To sum it up, beware the trendy picks.

My MLB.com Fantasy411 Mock Draft Team

For the better part of the last month, I have been participating in the annual 15 team Sloooooow Mock Draft hosted by the fine folks at MLB.com’s Fantasy411 team. Now that we’re finally done with the draft, I can reflect on my team as a whole.

Early NFBC ADP Trends To Watch -- The Top 50

While it’s still a bit early to start looking at trends that may be developing within the ADP numbers, we can still take a look at some of the movement we’ve been seeing recently in the NFBC. The overall movement hasn’t been too significant, but there are definitely a few risers and fallers of whom to take notice as this could be the starting point of greater movement ahead. We’ll go back through each position individually, but let’s hit those first few rounds of your draft and see what’s been happening inside the top 50 picks.

Fantasy College Basketball Game of the Week: Saint Louis at La Salle

Perry Missner makes his way over to the A10 to see what the Saint Louis Billikens look like.

Fantasy Baseball Scene in Knocked Up

As preparation should just now be kicking in for your fantasy baseball auction or draft (it really should be an auction), take a moment to enjoy one of the great fantasy sports movie moments...

Home Runs and Strikeouts Since 2000

Some pertinent league-wide hitting and pitching data since 2000:

Collette Calls Mailbag

If you would like to have your fantasy baseball question responded to in this format, drop Jason a line. He'll publish his mailbag twice a week.

Rookie ADP -- Beware the Hype

Ah, the rookies. They’re both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, there’s the hope, the promise, and the trepidation that stems from relying on the unknown. On the other, there’s no proven track record and the potential for failure is actually greater than the chance of success. There’s that tantalizing excitement that comes from being the guy who saw him first and the narcissistic gratification that comes from everyone in the league praising you for unearthing such a gem. But should things not work out, your reliance on them can lead you right to the bottom of your standings.

Super Bowl 48 Observations

While staying in NY last Tuesday, I dreamt I had somehow overslept the start of the Super Bowl without posting my Beating the Book article or getting any bets in. I had already declared strongly for Seattle after the conference title games, but I was anguished I hadn't gotten the pick in officially or put money down. I rushed to the TV in a panic. It was early in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks were up 94-6.

Early Closer/Reliever ADP

The debate is both old and tiresome and one that I simply choose to avoid when it comes up. And it comes up each and every year. For those who fail to see the benefits of investing in decent closers rather than spend the year chasing saves that are usually accompanied by mediocre ratios and average strikeout totals, there’s probably little I can do to change your mind. Sure, every year at least one closer loses his job and the team finds a replacement, but is that how you want to walk out of your draft? Knowing that at some point during the year you’re going to have to invest a hefty chunk of your FAAB budget to chase one category? Why not make the smart investment early, especially when starting pitching is so insanely deep?

Fantasy College Basketball Game of the Week: Ohio State at Wisconsin

Perry Missner watches two struggling teams from the Big 10.

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